Passive smoking exposure in adults and chronic respiratory symptoms (SAPALDIA Study). Swiss Study on Air Pollution and Lung Diseases in Adults, SAPALDIA Team

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1994 Nov;150(5 Pt 1):1222-8. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.150.5.7952544.


The association between passive exposure to tobacco smoke and respiratory symptoms was examined in a sample of 4,197 never-smoking adults. They constituted the never-smoking subsample of a random sample of 9,651 adults (age, 18 to 60 yr) in eight areas in Switzerland. Information on passive smoking exposure and standardized questions on respiratory symptoms were obtained via a questionnaire administered by trained examiners. After controlling for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), study area, atopy, and parental and sibling history, passive smoking exposure was associated with an elevated risk of wheezing apart from colds (odds ratio [OR] = 1.94, 95% CI = 1.39 to 2.70), an elevated risk of bronchitis symptoms (OR = 1.59, 95% CI = 1.17 to 2.15), an elevated risk of symptoms of chronic bronchitis (OR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.28 to 2.16), an elevated risk of dyspnea (OR = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.20 to 1.76), and an elevated risk of physician diagnosed asthma (OR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.86). It was not associated with any increased risk of allergic rhinitis including hayfever. Adding a variable for low educational level, excluding subjects whose mother ever smoked or subjects with end-expiratory CO levels > or = 7 ppm, and controlling for paternal smoking during childhood or occupational exposure had little impact on the association. The association of passive smoking exposure with dyspnea, wheeze, and asthma showed evidence of a dose-dependent increase with hours per day of exposure, whereas association with symptoms of bronchitis was stronger with years of exposure.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Bronchitis / epidemiology
  • Bronchitis / etiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dyspnea / epidemiology
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / complications
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution